Do I Have A Fat Leoprard Gecko?
Do you have a fat leopard gecko? Or are have you ever wondered if leopard geckos can even get fat?
A good, well-balanced diet is important for all beings so that they don’t gain excess weight. You might not think it, but leopard geckos can get fat too!
But how do you know what is considered fat or not in this species? It may look cute to see a little chubby lizard, but you might want to think again and enforce a healthier diet if you love your pet.
Obesity in Leopard Geckos
You may have seen those adorable pictures of chubby geckos online that might have even led you to get a gecko in the first place. Although they do look cute, they might not be healthy.
Leopard geckos are not the most active of reptiles, so they are more susceptible to gaining weight. There are a few ways you can tell whether or not your leopard gecko is at a healthy weight.
You can ask your veterinarian or pay attention to your gecko’s tail; that is where all their fat goes. Leopard geckos are known to have fat tails, so don’t worry if it’s a little chubby, but just make sure you check if it is too chubby.
Check if the thickest part of the tail is as wide as or wider than its head, as this may be an indicator of excess fat. The base of their tail should not be thicker than their neck when they are a healthy weight.
If geckos are overweight, some may even have fat rolls on their sides when they turn or curl up. If these are visible, it might be time to put your leopard gecko on a diet!
Responsible owners should care and make sure that their leopard gecko is healthy. Otherwise, it will suffer serious health issues in the long run.
Check out our leopard gecko care sheet for more.
Fatty Liver Disease
Fatty Liver Disease is a result of an improper diet and obese leopard gecko. This will leave your gecko with an enlarged, darkened liver.
Some symptoms of Fatty Liver Disease in leopard geckos can include a pink hue of the skin, lethargy, sudden weight loss, lack of appetite, swelling in the abdomen, and bloating.
If you see any of these symptoms, you should take your leopard gecko to the doctors to treat them correctly as well as speak to the doctor about a more suitable diet for your pet.
Here are some things owners might be doing that are causing their leopard gecko to get fat:
Causes of a Fat Leopard Gecko
Owners often misunderstand the frequency of feeding that is needed to keep your leopard gecko healthy. Adult leopard geckos only need to be fed once or twice a week because they metabolize slowly.
There is no reason to be feeding them daily unless they are babies. Babies can be fed 5 to 7 smaller crickets or mealworms daily until they are fully grown adults.
As adults, after about 10 or so months, you can start feeding them large crickets and mealworms twice a week. Give them about 6 to 8 total insects.
Once or twice a week is enough, especially if your lizard needs to go on a diet. A healthy, well-balanced, and recommended diet for leopard geckos is a good mix of crickets and mealworms with a dusting of calcium on them.
Too Many Treats
Some owners might want to treat their leopard geckos to treats now and again, but some might also mistakenly use worms with higher fat as feeder staples.
Just like us humans with dessert or sweets, treats should also be limited. A good rule of thumb is to allow only one or two special snacks per week. Think of these worms as a dessert rather than a meal for them.
It is recommended that owners make sure that their gecko is at least 5 to 6 months old before you think about adding treats to its diet, in order not to stunt its growth.
It’s important to note that there are cases where some leopard geckos are known to get addicted to their fatty snack worms, making them not want to eat their usual food. This is how your leopard gecko can gain excess weight and get fat.
This behavior is commonly seen with wax worms, but can also happen with super worms or hornworms. Just be sure to keep these fatty treats at a minimum, feeding them similar worms such as black soldier fly larvae or Calci worms to get them to wean off.
When it comes to waxworms, they should be fed these rarely since they’re like candy to leopard geckos, and they can easily get addicted, not wanting to eat their regular meals. This can cause them to gain too much weight, which is bad for their health.
If you are going to feed your leopard gecko pinkie mice, this should only be done once a year, so very rare instances. Too many pinkie mice will cause obesity, leading to fatty liver disease.
None of these high-fat worms and proteins should be fed to your gecko too often. Stick to their healthy feeder mealworms and crickets with a brush of calcium.
Here is how you can help your leopard gecko if it is already obese:
Putting Your Fat Leopard Gecko on a Diet
At this point, you should stop feeding them superworms and other fattier worms and stick to their diet feed.
If your gecko is addicted to these treat worms, as mentioned earlier, feeding them similar worms such as black soldier fly larvae or Calci worms to help them wean off the snacks.
Make sure to rotate your feeders every week because leopard geckos will get bored of their feeders at times. Just make sure you are not feeding them more than twice a week. Otherwise, they will gain weight.
Reducing the frequency of food will also keep them interested in meals as well as help them lose weight!
Speak to your veterinarian if you are concerned about your leopard gecko’s weight or if you see them showing any of the symptoms listed under fatty liver disease.
You might even want to discuss the best way of bringing a well-balanced diet into your gecko’s meals and how to keep them interested in their meals if they’re picky.
A doctor will surely be able to help you keep your leopard gecko as healthy as can be, but we recommend trying to take preventative methods.
Keeping your leopard geck from getting fat isn’t too tough. You just need to provide them with a healthy diet. Doing so will prolong their lives and allow them to spend more time with you.
Do your research and only provide them with what they need in order to stay healthy and happy in their home with you. They will love you for it.